SUMMARY: Printing using pcnfs -> solaris 2.3 -> pcnfs

From: John Hammersmith CSIRO/Flinders JRC (
Date: Wed Jun 15 1994 - 23:37:45 CDT

Original question:
I am about to take over management of a number of sites that have a number
PC's networked with Sparc 10's using PCNFS 5.0.
Printers are connected to parallel ports on some of the PC's. The idea is
that to print from a PC the job is spooled to the Sparc using PCNFS and then
spooled back to a PC with a printer attached.

Apparently this has proved flaky with many jobs just disappearing and
requiring frequent restarts of the print serving PC's. I am not surprised
but have no really solid reasons why this convoluted system should not work!
I have suggested that the contractor replace the print server PC's with
ethernet -> parallel port print boxes.
They plan to throw it back to Sun for an explanation of the flakiness.

Does anyone else use this method now, or experimented with it? Any comments
or solutions? Of course I will summarise.

PS. All relevant (to printing) Solaris patches have apparently been applied.

Almost all agreed that in their experience that the above method was not
reliable, especially if the print server PC was dedicated to that task only.
Most suggested that reliable printing was to be found with various ethernet
to parallel print boxes.
Note: It is worth pointing out that many of the responses were from sites
using SunOS 4.1.x. So the problem occurs with both server OS's.

However a couple of Sun Managers suggested that new or patched versions of
PCNFS made for reliable PC print servers. Specifically the patch rev 5.0B or
V5.1 of PCNFS.

Thanks to:
Claude Marinier <> (Amy Hollander) (Lewis E. Wolfgang)
James T Perkins <> (Brett Lymn)
Ketil Kirkerud <>
"D.J.Peacock" <> (Terry Smith - Sun UK - City Senior Systems Engineer) (Fredrik Nyman) (John Justin Hough)

John Hammersmith

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